How To Cure a Sick Cockatiel? Home remedies + Signs

Cockatiels try to hide their illness. They have high adaptability in concealing their physical or mental illness. However, it is important to watch their behavior while they are healthy to figure out when your bird falls ill. In such a way you’ll be able to find out what’s not normal for your cockatiel. The daily interaction with your cockatiel will greatly facilitate you in knowing when the bird is not feeling well.

Cockatiels are highly sociable birds and like to form associations. Sick cockatiels do not like to socialize and it is one of the major signs to look for when the bird gets ill. Peaky cockatiels mostly hang out in the bottom of their cage and feel bored, tired, and have a lack of energy. When you find your cockatiel not interested in doing things he usually likes to; suspect illness. Do you want to know more information about when a cockatiel falls ill? Then, you’ll surely get this information below. Continue reading the article to know the signs of sick cockatiels, their common diseases, treatment options, and relevant home remedies. So, let’s get started.

Signs of a Sick Cockatiel:

Changes in behavior and way of sleeping.

Sick cockatiels have abnormal sleep patterns and you’ll find some changes in their behavior. If your cockatiel is sleeping more or less than usual; it indicates that your cockatiel might not be feeling well. Cockatiels usually sleep for about 10-12 hours during the night and are willing to nap 2-3 times during the day. If you find that your cockatiel is sleeping throughout the day even after a good night’s sleep then it may be a sign that he is undergoing some illness. Moreover, if you find your bird sleeping differently than on most of the usual days; it might indicate that your cockatiel is not feeling well.

Also, look for any change in the cockatiel’s behavior or character. If your bird does not like to approach you or eat in the usual way it does; your bird might be feeling sick. Sometimes, cockatiels also go through mental illness and there are some signs to look for. For instance:

  • Decreased vocalization.
  • Screaming or biting.
  • Feather picking.
  • Self-mutilation.
  • Feeling aggressive.
  • Being unresponsive.
  • Finding no interest in any activity.
  • Feeling bored.
  • Showing stereotypical behavior such as toe-tapping or head swinging.
  • Feeling depressed.

If you find any of the above symptoms with your cockatiel; be ready to give him the necessary treatment to restore his physical and mental health.

Reduced activity level.

Cockatiels are responsive and active birds. They like to feel energetic with their owners. If you find that your bird has a reduced level of activity than usual; your bird is surely falling ill. Some signs of lethargy include ignoring you when you are around, not being able to fly or do exercise, feathers getting fluffed up, ignoring movement or sounds, etc.

It is important to monitor your bird’s usual activity level so that you can figure out when the bird is not feeling well. For this, you need to spend time with your bird regularly to know what’s normal for your cockatiel.

Changes in the voice tone.

Another sign of an ill-feeling cockatiel is a change in the tone of his voice. A change in the voice tone of a cockatiel reflects some form of physical or mental illness. This sign might come solely or accompany other signs depicting an illness. If you see your cockatiel unable to sing due to loss of voice or constant crying, your bird might be feeling weak.

Sick cockatiels have a weak quality of voice and general lethargy. They mostly ignore what is happening around them and are self-occupied due to a lack of interest. When your cockatiel is taking no notice of sounds or movements around them; make sure to comfort him with some form of treatment.

Changes in appetite.

If your cockatiel is eating more or less than his usual day; it is a sign that the bird might be feeling ill. Stress or depression significantly affects eating behavior and the bird might eat less or more than expected. The eating behavior of cockatiels determines both physical and mental illness and it must be sorted out adequately.

Depressed or stressed cockatiels might also lose or gain weight along with a change in their appetite level. Visit the nearest vet to treat your cockatiel’s underlying cause.

Drinking more water.

Sick cockatiels drink more water than usual. This is also one of the major signs to look for. Most of the cockatiels drink about a teaspoon of water per day. When cockatiels get sick, they drink more water because of vomiting or diarrhea. However, drinking more water doesn’t necessarily depict that your cockatiel is ill. Here are some points you need to assure before considering it as a sign of illness.

  • Cockatiels can drink more water if the room is too hot or warm. If your cockatiel is drinking more water; make sure you employ an adequate temperature in the room. A temperature that falls between 65-80 degrees of Fahrenheit is well suited to cockatiels.
  • Find out the level of salt in your cockatiel’s food. Cockatiels drink more water when the food is too salty. Choose a food that has a balanced amount of salt in it.
  • If your cockatiel is too active; it might drink more water. If you do not observe any other symptom of illness; do not confuse an active and ill cockatiel. Look for other signs to be assured whether your cockatiel is really ill or not.
  • Cockatiels who feed their young ones usually drink more water than usual. They need more energy for feeding their little ones. Therefore, examine thoroughly to be assured of their illness.

Other signs to look for:

There are many other signs you can look for to identify a sick cockatiel. For instance:

  • Puffed up feathers.
  • Swelling in the eyes.
  • Change in droppings.
  • Flaking of the beak.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Untidy appearance.
  • Soiled vent.
  • Disorientation.
  • Tail is constantly moving.
  • Discharge from the nostrils, beak, or eyes.
  • Swelling in the body.
  • Vomiting.
  • Baldness.
  • Lack of coordination.
  • Bleeding.

Common Diseases and Their Treatments:

It is common for cockatiels to suffer from some form of illness. While there are so many illnesses that a cockatiel can encounter. But the following information will reflect on the most common diseases that a cockatiel usually suffers from.


Cockatiels who suffer from malnutrition appear pale, lethargic, and have low stamina. If your bird suffers from this condition; he is probably deficient in calcium, magnesium, and protein.

Treatment: It is imperative to give a balanced diet to your cockatiel to keep him healthy and active. It is essential to consult a vet in this regard. Generally, you can add organic pellets to your cockatiel’s diet to make him well. Offer him nutritious food like peanuts, millet spray, and sunflower seeds. It should be noted that fatty foods should only be used as treats or for training sessions as a reinforcement. They shouldn’t be consumed by your cockatiel regularly.

Respiratory diseases.

Cockatiels become prone to respiratory illnesses when they find environmental toxins in their environment. These toxins include aerosol sprays, cigarette smoke, Teflon-coated appliances, etc. If you find symptoms like shortness of breath, sneezing, sinus swelling, or a change in your cockatiel’s voice; he might be suffering from a respiratory disease.

Treatment: The treatment options for respiratory diseases include supportive care (the right amount of oxygen, heat, fluids, etc.), gavage feeding, nebulization, and culture-sensitive antibiotics. 

Lead poisoning.

It is estimated that around 16 million birds suffer from lead poisoning every year. Cockatiels who suffer from lead poisoning have reduced levels of activity, feel depressed, have water droppings, and do not eat sufficiently. Lead poisoning is a serious illness that must be cured well on time.

Treatment Options: Most veterinarians use a metal chelating agent calcium EDTA to cure lead poisoning in birds. This drug is injected through the bird’s intestines or kidneys to trap the lead.

Chronic depression.

Cockatiels might suffer from chronic depression. This can result from a variety of causes such as hormonal imbalance, yeast or fungal infection, viral or bacterial infection, organ-specific problem, or otherwise. At times chronic depression in birds can lead to self-destructing behavior and it must be given due importance.

Treatment: Always visit your nearest vet if you see something unusual in your cockatiel. Have patience to treat your depressed cockatiel. Sometimes, the time factor plays a critical role in treating the bird especially when the bird loses its partner. Interact with your bird daily and engage him in activities that he likes to do.

Reproductive problems.

It is common for cockatiels to suffer from reproductive problems. These include issues like a failure to reproduce, impacted oviduct, excessive egg production, neoplasia, egg binding, etc. Sometimes the bird finds it difficult to lay eggs because of obstruction; however, it can be treated.

Treatment: Surgery is required if the cockatiel suffers from neoplasia or has a concurrent infection. Mostly, the reproductive problems in cockatiels are treated by supportive care, antimicrobials, abdominocentesis, GnRH agonists, and by decreasing cyst size. However, individual cases do vary from one another.  

Xanthomas or wing tumors.

A cockatiel might also suffer from a disease known as Xanthomas or wing tumors. This tumor is mostly found in the bird’s wing or leg. It is a cancer of the connective tissue which grows over a long bone.

Treatment: Surgery is usually used to treat this disease. The surgery could be more challenging depending upon the size and location of the tumor. If the lump has been diagnosed as a tumor; surgical removal becomes necessary.

Get your cockatiel diagnosed for the problem it is facing so that adequate treatment can be opted. The treatment options are discussed below so that you can consult a vet near you. Moreover, you will find some valuable home remedies in the article if you want to care for your cockatiel all by yourself. So, let’s begin with the treatment methods well suited to cockatiels.  

Home Remedies for Curing a Sick Cockatiel:

Keep your bird comfortable by offering him the right temperature.

Sick cockatiels need warmth to feel comforted. Offer your sick cockatiel the right temperature so that he feels better. It is good to keep the temperature around 90 degrees Fahrenheit for your sick cockatiel. For this, you can put a heat lamp in the bird’s cage or use a heating pad instead. Either way, put it at the bottom of the bird’s cage and cover it with a blanket. The warm temperature will surely soothe your cockatiel. You also need to be cautious to ensure that your bird’s place is warm. For this, you can do the following actions:

  • Check the cage’s temperature several times during the day. It should be around 32 degrees Celsius.
  • The heat lamp can be purchased from any pet store. However, if you did not find one, then, look for 40-60 watts of the green bulb. It works well to keep a warm temperature.
  • You must know the body temperature of your cockatiel before making such an arrangement. If the cockatiel suffers from fever; then, you do not need to keep the temperature warm. Otherwise, the bird’s wings will be raised and they would be harmful to the bird.

Place him in a quiet place and provide diffused sunlight.

Another home remedy to cure your cockatiel is to provide him diffused sunlight and a quiet place. A sick cockatiel wants to rest in an environment that soothes him both physically and mentally. Provide him comfort and a relaxed environment so that it feels better again. For diffused light, you can put a thin curtain over the window; the curtains should be made of silk organza or thin cotton material.

Use a humidifier to add humidity to your bird’s environment.

The humid environment is well suited to cockatiels who suffer from respiratory illnesses. Keep the airways moist so that your cockatiel can breathe easily. You can put a vaporizer or humidifier near the bird’s cage to facilitate him.

Though humidifiers are mostly used to cure respiratory illnesses, you can even use them when your bird feels sick otherwise. It will never harm the bird; instead, it will aid to keep the ideal temperature in the bird’s place.

Give all the medications as directed by the physician.

Never hesitate to consult a vet to ask about your bird’s illness. However, if you are unable to visit him; talk to him directly via phone. Know the basic instructions so that your bird feels good again. Give him prescribed medications on time and provide him a comfortable environment to soothe him.

Eliminate the possible sources of illness in the bird’s cage.

It is imperative to eliminate the sources of illness in the bird’s cage so that germs and bacteria do not grow there. You need to remove food from the bird’s cage that was placed before the bird got ill. Food that gets contaminated might be the main source of the bird’s illness. Therefore, remove all prior food and replace it with the new one. Offer fresh food to your bird and give him a nutritious diet to strengthen his immune system.  

Also, keep your bird’s cage clean. You can purchase a bird safe cleaner from a pet store to do this work. Otherwise, you can also clean it manually. Remove seeds and waste materials from the cage’s floor. Clean the sides of the cage as well to ensure your bird is living in a safe environment.

Reduce the level of stress for your bird to make him feel relaxed.

Soothe your cockatiel and ensure that it takes sufficient sleep. Place the bird’s cage in a quiet place and do not knock at the cage or touch it too often. Create a soothing environment for your cockatiel so that it can relax without any disturbance.

Getting Veterinary Care:

If you find that the home remedies are not working on your cockatiel or if the symptoms have worsened, visit the physician as soon as possible.

  • Get immediate veterinary care.
  • Go for a diagnosis.
  • Follow the veterinarian’s instructions properly to save your bird.

Can Cockatiels Recover from Sickness?

Cockatiels do recover from sickness provided they are given adequate nutrition. Cockatiels who suffer from malnutrition have a weak immune system and they become more prone to illnesses. Without well-balanced and adequate nutrition; cockatiels do not recover on their own. Therefore, make sure your cockatiel is having the proper diet to fight the illness he is suffering from. If your cockatiel is not willing to eat or drink; visit a vet at your earliest.


It is common for cockatiels to feel ill. The symptoms can vary among cockatiels depending upon age, culture, location, and bird’s condition. Take some time out from your daily schedule to look for whether your cockatiel needs help. Cockatiels mostly hide their illness; therefore, never leave your bird unnoticed. Otherwise, they may suffer from some severe illness and that might be difficult to treat. We hope that you have benefitted from the above information and you’ll closely watch your cockatiel to keep him healthy.






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